Reyneveld says the Times and the SECB misrepresented her position.
Reyneveld says the Seattle Times and the SECB misrepresented her position. Sarah Reyneveld Campaign

When the Stranger Election Control Board endorsed Liz Berry for the open State House seat in the 36th Legislative District, we dinged her opponent, assistant attorney general Sarah Reyneveld, for apparently telling The Stranger one thing and the Seattle Times Editorial Board another thing regarding her position on cuts to public sector jobs.

Here's what the Seattle Times Editorial Board wrote: "Reyneveld said essential services, including education and services for vulnerable populations, must be preserved even if that means some nonessential state employees are let go."

Here's what the SECB wrote: "[Reyneveld] characterized her position on cuts a little differently in our meeting. 'We can’t make the mistakes of austerity,' she said. Cutting public sector jobs is making the mistakes of austerity."

Reyneveld argues that line in the Times' endorsement misrepresents her position, which means the SECB also misrepresented her position.

Over the phone, Reyneveld said she told the board she supported the salary freezes and furloughs the Governor ordered as part of his response to bad revenue forecasts, but that she "did not say specifically that I was in favor of letting state employees go.”

She does favor examining cuts to the Department of Corrections and the Washington State Patrol, and said that she "described potential salary freezes and furloughs, potential cuts to state agency budgets and nonessential services that wouldn’t adversely impact vulnerable communities” to the Times, but she did not mention cutting employees. She's not sure why the board wrote “nonessential employees” instead of “nonessential services.”

Seattle Times editorial page editor Kate Riley declined to confirm any of that, but said Reyneveld did not request a correction. I asked Reyneveld why she didn't ask for a correction, and will update this post when I hear back.

Update: Reyneveld said she asked the Stranger for a correction "because the SECB concluded that I supported cutting public sector jobs" but has since "clarified I do not support cutting public sector jobs or letting state employees go." In her view, the Times's endorsement "appeared to generally paraphrase my position that if after fighting tooth and nail for new revenue and using the rainy day fund there was still a budget gap I would favor applying an equity lens to budget discussions to preserve and prioritize education and services for our most vulnerable, even if that meant examining potential cuts to agency budgets or nonessential services that wouldn't adversely impact vulnerable communities."

Berry's position has been plain: NO CUTS, outside of "reducing funding to law enforcement and putting that money toward social and intervention programs."

Of course, one incoming State House Rep likely won't have much influence on whether the legislature cuts services, shrinks eligibility, or cuts state employee jobs next session, but here we are.